Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Fight Night 29: Jake Shields edges Demian Maia via split decision in close fight

Well we have made it to the main event, and the fight between Demian Maia vs Jake Shields. I really hope this fight gets to the ground and the fans are given a fantastic jiu-jitsu match. Simply put, these guys are not the best strikers and no one is hoping for a kickboxing match. That being said, these men are both world class when it comes to jiu-jitsu. Maia is on a three fight win streak since moving down to Welterweight with victories over Jon Fitch, Dong Hyun Kim, and Rick Story. Jake Shields would be on a three fight win streak of his own, but a failed post-fight drug test after his fight with Ed Herman meant the bout was overturned to a No Contest. He came back from suspension with a decision victory over Tyron Woodley. We shall see what this fight holds?

Round 1- Two leg kicks start the fight for Shields, and Maia goes for the takedown, but can not get it. Maia has Shields on the fence, and takes him down. Shields is trying to wall walk, but Maia is smothering. Maia is landing some nice right hands, but can not pass Shields guard. Shields back up and almost lands a trip takedown on Maia. Maia turns around and gets Shields on the mat again. Butterfly guard for Shields and he uses it to get back up, but Maia takes his back! Shields hula-hoops Maia off and lands in half-guard! Shields is not doing anything on top really. He finally passes, but is brought right back into Maia’s guard. Shields landing some nice elbows and the round ends. I say 10-9 Shields because he had control for longer.

Round 2- Leg kick body kick combo by Shields. Both men go for a takedown at the same time and briefly collide. Maia pushing Shields up against the fence, but a nice reversal by Shields lands Maia on his back. Shields again not capitalizing on top. Now he is throwing some nice short elbows. Maia attempts a wall walk, but can not get up. Shields is landing some nice shots in half guard, and Maia can not get up. Shields is warned for inactivity on top by Marc Goddard. Maia is throwing up weak submission attempts while Shields throws 2 or 3 strikes every 30 seconds. This fight is now very entertaining. Maia looks to be setting up a triangle, but Shields defends. The round ends with Shields on top. Shields needs to have some sort of killer instinct if he can hold him Maia down in round 3. 10-9 Shields for complete control on the bottom.

Round 3- Shields with a nice inside leg kick and two weak jabs. Shields has no sting to his jab and hits air more often than Maia. This is the longest this fight has been on the feet for. Maia with a nice body shot and a nice overhand left. Shields goes for the double leg, but is stuffed and reversed by Maia. Maia is trying to get Shields down, but a beautiful counter by Shields gets Maia down. Maia right back up and goes forward aggressively with a nice combo! Maia pushes Shields up to the fence and gets his back on the takedown! Maia is landing some shots, and a beautiful reversal spin out by Jake Shields finishes with him on top of Maia! Great exchange right there. The next two minutes was Shields once again dominating in top control, but not throwing many effective strikes. 10-9 Shields for two nice reversals, and more dominant control.

Round 4- A body kick by Shields lands and he goes for the takedown and Maia is run into the cage. Shields trying hard to get this fight on the mat. Maia now gets double underhooks in the clinch and throws a knee. Shields turns Maia around and is just holding Maia on the cage. Goddard steps in again to separate them. Restart begins with a head kick that lands for Shields. Maia stuffs a takedown from Shields with a nice sprawl. Shields is exhausted and Maia is able to get him down. Maia can not mount any effective offense and both men are very tired. Goddard warning Maia for inactivity and again stands them up. This is not a good round. Shields is completely flat footed on the feet. No one is throwing anything of worth. The round ends with two decent right hands by Maia and a body kick from Shields. 10-9 Maia for control on the top.

Round 5- It could very well be tied going into this round. Shields with a few body kicks, and Maia responds with some hooks. Maia looks to be fresher, and Shields throws a kick with literally nothing behind it. Great sprawl by Maia to stop a Shields takedown. Shields with a head kick that is partially blocked. Another takedown attempt by Shields, and they are up against the fence.Maia gets an underhook, and a second one and now Shields has his back up to the fence. Nice right hand exit by Maia. Shields with two right head kicks. Maia is pushing the pace and stuffs another takedown. Big left hand lands from Maia, but Shields eats it. Head kick by Shields and again goes for the takedown. Main just barely sprawls and avoids the takedown, but he is once again on the fence. Goddard separates them AGAIN, and a pretty good flurry ends the fight. Maia was throwing big shots to end the fight. I say Maia wins that round for the better striking. I have Shields winning it 48-47.

Official Decision: Jake Shields wins via Split Decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48)

Tags: Demian Maia Jake Shields MMA UFC UFC Fight Night 29

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